The latest round of app removals is surprisingly Google-heavy as in the course of the last two weeks, we’ve learned that Google has removed the ever-popular PSX4Droid app from the Android Market, followed shortly thereafter by the equally popular and equally legally questionable GrooveShark app.
Both apps walk a fine legal line. While GrooveShark has faced its own share of legal issues, the internet company insists they operate within the law. Universal Music Group seems to disagree with this assessment (while EMI is on board), as they’ve filed a copyright claim against the company in the beginning of 2010. That’s gray area enough, it seems, for Apple and Google to both pull the official GrooveShark app from their respective stores. Curiously, though, Apple removed the app back in August of 2010, while Google has just gotten around to removing it now. Google’s more recent compliance with music industry wishes may have something to do with their rumored upcoming Google Music service which has been just a month or two from release for about a year now. Idle speculation at best, of course, but if Google Music launched at Google I/O, where they previewed some music-related features last year, it’d be hard to ignore the timing.
Of course, if that’s just a little too unsubstantiated hearsay for your taste, try on Google’s other recent app removal: PSX4Droid. A full PlayStation emulator for the Android platform. It’s typical Bring Your Own ROM affair, but has nevertheless been a popular emulator for the platform for a while, sitting pretty with the likes of NESoid and SuperGNES. The latter two remain on the Market, however, even after PSX4Droid has been pulled. A crackdown on emulators? Possible. More likely, however is pressure from Sony, as this app removal comes right on the cusp of the Xperia Play’s release which will bring with it, among other things, an official PlayStation game source for Android. Google’s offered no explanation as to why this emulator deserved to be removed over any other besides the following generic comment sent to Engadget:
“We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies.”
Across the OS pond, however, one of the more bizarre app removals occurred; Toyota removed its own app from renowned iOS jailbreak app store, Cydia. As part of a rather clever and innovative marketing approach, Toyota released a custom theme for jailbroken iPhones, only to pull it a couple months later, allegedly at Apple’s request. It’s reported that Toyota complied with Apple’s request to refrain from marketing directly to jailbreakers to “maintain their good relationship with Apple”, the extent of which seems to be little more than supporting iPod docks in some car models.
It’s rare that an app removal is ever celebrated (though it does happen), but the past couple weeks have been a pretty sad time for app removals. Long live the mirror downloads!